Noticed those LOVE signs across the state? Here’s how they started.
Love is all around Virginia. Literally.
There are currently 33 “LOVEworks” scattered across the Commonwealth, each meant to celebrate the unique character of the site where it’s located.
“They really started with portable signs and simple white letters that we…placed at various Virginia welcome centers,” said Richard Lewis of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. Those original, roughly six-foot tall white LOVE signs were commissioned in 2011 and inspired by the “Virginia is for Lovers” ad campaign.
“The idea was to present Virginia as a family destination with the message that love is at the heart of every Virginia vacation,” Lewis said. “It’s not just about doing the things you love, or going to the place you love, but sharing those experience with the people you love.”
The VTC then decided to partner with tourism destinations across the state to install more artistic signs, called LOVEworks. “People have become extremely creative with these,” Lewis said.
Among them are the wine barrels used at the Cardinal Point Winery in Afton, musical instruments on State Street in Bristol’s arts and entertainment district, and the swan in the Maymont LOVEwork, which references the mansion’s swan bed.
The VTC even created a Reimbursement Fund to help groups and individuals create their own LOVEwork.1 Approved projects received $1,200 toward the sign’s construction and installation. Of the 33 signs now up, 17 were created with fund assistance.
Lewis said that the VTC ultimately wants 100 LOVEworks across the state. As a result, the Reimbursement Fund will soon reopen to facilitate their construction.2 But he said that “some people are just getting into the spirit of the thing and [doing] it on their own.” He recalled seeing one made out of hay bales while he traveled in the southwest part of the state.
When asked why these LOVE signs have become so popular, Lewis said that they reaffirm a “universal” message. “There’s a lot of love in this world, and that appeals to everybody.”
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photos courtesy of the Virginia Tourism Corporation